I don’t know about you, but when I usually eat, I have something else in front of me like a book, computer, notebook, or a movie. It would always seem like a good idea at the time. Most of the time I would notice that my food was suddenly gone and I didn’t remember eating it or tasting even a single bite. I would also notice that I didn’t feel very relaxed while eating and I didn’t feel rested. If anything, I still felt hungry and a bit drained.
After doing this for most of my life, I recently decided to try an experiment. I decided to try eating mindfully. Instead of checking my emails or going on Facebook while I ate my food, I would sit down with only my food and drink in front of me and just eat. While I ate, I brought my awareness to the smell, flavor, and visual experience of my food. I also noticed that I chewed my food more. The food was more satisfying and I usually noticed that I was full before I finished all of my food. I also felt more relaxed and rested. Instead of ending the meal and feeling like taking a nap or eating more, I felt satisfied, relaxed, and ready to do something fun or productive.
According to Chinese medicine, it is very beneficial for the spleen to eat in a relaxed and even cheerful environment. The Chinese medical spleen is in charge of intellect and plays an important role in digestion. If it is distracted with information overload or following a story line in a movie or book, it will not properly digest the food. If however, you are enjoying the meal and focused on eating it in relaxed state of mind, either by yourself or in the company of friends and loved ones, the spleen is better able to do it’s job, the food will be digested properly, and nutrients will be more easily assimilated .